>THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU
• Rapini, Rapini, Rapini
• Green Garlic
• “Grumulo” Radicchio
• Swiss Chard
Welcome to what we must call Spring! Of course, we had yet another hailstorm today, our first harvest of this new season. The ground is still very wet, and while Mike has been able to get the tractor out in the field a few times, we still have not been able to plant much in the field. We did plant salad greens, pea shoots, and radishes in the greenhouses about a month ago, and they just finally started germinating about a week ago. Thanks to the extended winter we’re having, they’re about three weeks later than we’d hoped.
But, spring will come—hopefully this weekend. Sun is actually forecasted, and it’s supposed to climb into the 60’s! We heard that on this day last year it was 74°. Hard to believe. But things always work out. Cold, wet weather is great for broccoli, salad, and peas, after all.
Spring did arrive in great force about a month ago, in one uplifting way. The herons returned! Last year, our neighbors the Pearsons hosted the 78th Ave. Great Blue Heron Colony. The ever expanding community was home to a minimum of five nests! And we’re pleased to report that there are two new nests in the pine trees right above our house! Very noisy, but I find it comforting to be awoken at night by their squawking and squabbling. Call me crazy. Also exciting, is that the far-ranging, nomadic man we call “The Owl Guy,” visited twice this winter, and placed nest boxes in the old grain silo behind our house, as well as in other undisclosed locations in the area. Two weeks ago we started hearing horrible screeching noises from the silo, and tonight Della and I explored with the flashlight to find two pairs nesting and feeding babies. They definitely do NOT enjoy visitors and they stared and screeched at us until we left. But, very good news indeed, as rats and rabbits are a growing problem in our area, with no real predators except for raptors.
We put up bird feeders this winter and enjoyed watching the goldfinches change from white and grey to very nearly (now) gold. Quite thrilling to see that change, and we’ve had Flickers and Downy Woodpeckers visit our feeder as well. Cosmo’s favorite are “his” chickadees, but we also enjoy all of the others, except for the starlings.
As always, our spring season begins with all of the crops that make it through winter. Green garlic, from the patch that we harvested last year—it must be impossible to harvest ALL of it. Rapini, from last year’s turnip crop (and kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, and all other brassicas—see the separate post on this topic, to come soon), and an exciting type of Radicchio, meant to harvest in the spring. This type is called “Grumulo”, and it is fall planted and forms nice little rosettes of green or red in the spring. See the post on Chicories in the recipe section for recipes.
I also want to add that we DO have fresh eggs. We’ve downsized the flock to make it easier for Della to take over the husbanding of chickens, and to make them a more exclusive item for our loyal subscribers. That said, the only way to get the delicious eggs is to buy an egg punch card. Here’s how it works: you pay $45 for an egg card, which buys you 10 dozen eggs. You keep the card and mark off every time you get a dozen eggs. When you run out of boxes, you buy a new card. Seattle folks just let me know if you want a full dozen or half dozen every week with your share. It’s easier for me to remember if you set a fixed order, rather than making me remember a full dozen one week, 1/2 dozen every other week. I can’t guarantee I’ll get it right every time. So, starting with next week, let me know and we’ll get on the egg roll.
RAPINI (OR BROCCOLINI) WITH THEME & THREE VARIATIONS
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
BLANCHED RAPINI (BROCCOLI RAAB)
1 pound Rapini (broccoli rabe), washed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons Salt
1. Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Stir in rapini greens and salt and cook until wilted and tender, about 2 1/2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Cool empty saucepan by rinsing under cold running water. Fill cooled saucepan with cold water and submerge greens to stop the cooking process. Drain again; squeeze well to dry (or twirl in a salad spinner) and proceed with one of the following recipes.
RAPINI WITH GARLIC & RED PEPPER FLAKES
2 T extra virgin Olive Oil
3 medium Garlic Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 recipe Blanched Rapini Greens (above)
1. Heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in medium skillet over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle, about 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, add blanched rapini greens,
and cook, stirring to coat with oil, until heated through, about
1 minute. Season to taste with salt, serve immediately.
RAPINI WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES & PINE NUTS
Ingredients for Variation 1, plus
1/4 cup Oil-Packed Sun-dried Tomatoes, cut into thin strips
3 tbsp. Toasted Pine Nuts
1. Follow recipe for Rapini with Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes, adding sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Add toasted pine nuts to skillet with rapini greens.
RAPINI WITH ASIAN FLAVORS
Ingredients for Variation 1, plus
1 tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 1/2 tsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Finely Grated Ginger
1. Mix soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and sugar in small bowl; set aside. Follow recipe for Rapini with Garlic
and Red Pepper Flakes, adding ginger along with garlic and red pepper flakes. Add reserved soy sauce mixture to skillet along with rapini.
EVA COON’S RAPINI/KALE-INI
1 bunch Kale-ini (or rapini)
2 tbsp. Anchovy Paste
Juice and zest of 1 Lemon
4 tbsp. Olive Oil
1. Stir-fry the kale-ini in a hot wok with a little oil until bright green but still crisp.
2. Whisk together rest of ingredients and pour over veggies in wok. Stir to heat dressing slightly and serve.